Carnegie Mellon University

Wells headshot

February 06, 2024

Osher at CMU presents a lecture: "Business Journalism: Watchdog on Capitalism" by Rob Wells

Friday, February 23rd at 10am on Zoom
Sign up for the lecture by logging into the registration website and registering for ID: 5120.

From the New Deal to the current era, business journalists have attempted to tame the excesses of capitalism. This talk will examine business journalist Willard Kiplinger, one of the nation's top journalists in the 1930s and beyond, played a little-known role as political insider during the New Deal. Kiplinger explicitly urged business leaders to support Roosevelt's radical new regulations by arguing that laissez faire capitalism had failed and the new regulatory order was a necessary evolution in the U.S. free market ideal. Kiplinger served as an important bridge between Wall Street and Washington, between the circles of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. The talk will also describe cases where business journalists historically have struggled to remain independent from the powerful companies and leaders they cover. But there are notable exceptions. Some trade journal editors developed an audience for hard-hitting news.

Rob Wells is an associate professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where he teaches reporting, data journalism. He is the author of two books examining the history of business journalism and its problems, such as business journalism’s inability to serve the general public effectively.